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Albanian PM defends his minister who has been accused by the opposition

The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has publicly defended today his Interior minister, Fatmir Xhafaj, who has been attacked by the opposition.

“The Interior minister should not have to answer, neither legally, nor morally”, the PM declared.

Meanwhile, the PM has dismissed the audio recording published a few days ago by the opposition, through which it accuses the Interior minister’s brother, Agron Xhafaj of being linked to the underworld.

Rama also explained the stance of the majority in regards to this issue. According to him, the opposition’s masquerade will receive a political answer, but it will also be investigated. /ibna/

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Dodik – Putin meeting at the SPIEF 2018

Republika Srpska president, Milorad Dodik said on Friday that, on the margins of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), he met the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to discuss new projects that should begin in the RS with Russian investors. Primarily, as he said, they spoke about the reconstruction of two thermal power plants and the help in the procurement of helicopters for the needs of the Civil Protection of Republika Srpska.

"There is support for all these projects by the president of Russia, and of course there is his understanding of our political situation regarding the constant efforts to expose Republika Srpska to the pressures, with the aim to devalue its rights and capacities", Dodik said in a telephone statement for local media from St. Petersburg.

Dodik added that during meeting he was fascinated by the fact that Putin himself pointed to those challenges, that could be dangerous, and confirmed that he is committed to respect international law and the Dayton Peace Agreement.

"Putin has confirmed his support to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its territorial integrity, but also expressed his support to the sovereign rights that the Republika Srpska and the entities have, and this is a well-known policy of the Russian Federation and its president," Dodik said.

RS president pointed out that they also noted that RS and Russia have a positive development in their political and economic relations, and that he particularly expressed his gratitude to Russia for understanding the implementation of the Dayton Agreement.

"Our meetings have continuity and I am very pleased that the President of Russia, despite the fact that he had many guests, has found the time to talk about the projects that we are implementing on the territory of RS. About 20 000 persons from the world of business and politics, along with numerous statesmen, are in St. Petersburg," Dodik said.

He estimated that Russia shows that it is not under heavy pressure any more and that it managed to stabilise its economy and record the growth of the economy.

"This suggests that the leading capability of President Putin is impressive and that, in this respect, the Russian Federation can only await better days," Dodik underlined.

As Dodik previously noted, he invited Putin to visit Republika Srpska but there was no concrete agreement about the date…… / IBNA

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Montenegro takes over chairmanship of Adriatic and Ionian initiative

On Thursday, the Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović attended the Council of Ministers of the Adriatic and Ionian initiative (AII) and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) in Catania where Montenegro took over from Italy the one-year chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian initiative and EUSAIR.

The chairmanship officially begins on June 1st, 2018.

"During the presentation", reads the official presidential page of Montenegro, "Minister Darmanović said that the Montenegrin presidency will focus on further developing the ties between the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the European Union, as well as promoting European standards and values."

"I would like to emphasise our strong intention to continue to foster good neighborly relations and cooperation, in order to accelerate the development and growth in the region", he said.

During the Montenegrin presidency maritime, transport, energy, sustainable tourism and culture, environmental protection and educational matters will top the agenda of activities.

European Commission representatives and nine member states of the AII: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia and fYROMacedonia also participated in the meeting. Attendees adopted a Declaration, "reflecting the shared commitment to cooperation within the framework of the AII and the integration process."… / IBNA

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There are still open issues regarding the course of name talks

With a simple announcement, UN Special Envoy Matthew Nimetz said there are still differences between fYROMacedonia and Greece but both sides are willing to reach a solution.

"We had meetings yesterday and today, one and a half days of talks. What I can say is that the discussions were detailed, the issues are well defined and limited. We do not have a final solution to the issues, but both sides are determined to do enough to reach an agreement and work hard to do it, "Matthew Nimetz's statement said.

Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov will continue talks in Brussels, as the EU Foreign Affairs Council will be held in the Belgian capital of Belgium among the Foreign ministers of the EU member states on May 28 . "The talks have intensified considerably, both sides have important positions and national interests at stake, but both recognise the importance of reaching an agreement and are determined to do so", Matthew Nimetz noted.

As for the upcoming meeting of Alexis Tsipras with Zoran Zaev in the near future, Matthew Nimetz replied diplomatically saying that "the two sides know each other very well. The two ministers speak often and know each other, so they will find a way to do it."

The continuation of the talks in Brussels marks the willingness of both sides to find a solution that will satisfy them both. The limitation of outstanding issues as noted by Matthew Nimetz, according to IBNA's secure information, relates exclusively to the name and use of its derivatives. For this reason, there have been elaborate and in detail discussions for each candidate name separately, so that the conclusion of the agreement will not have any 'gray areas' nor will it be a waste of time…. / IBNA

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First ever Slovenian beehive at the UN headquarters in New York

Mainly if not 100% thanks to Slovenia, there is the World Bee Day, celebrated for the first time on May 20 this year.

To celebrate World Bee Day, the Slovenian mission at the UN and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have inaugurated a Slovenian beehive at the UN headquarters in New York, made exclusively by Slovenian bees, known as the Carniola Bee.

"The beehive was made by Matija Čemažar and will be taken care of by Andrew Cote from Bees Without Borders", STA reads.

"I never worked with such a beehive before, so if any beekeeper from Slovenia could spare some time to come to teach me, his know-how would be very useful," Cote said at the inauguration ceremony, on Thursday, May 24.

The Slovenian Ambassador at the UN Darja Bavdaž Kuret "pointed to the fact that the UN General Assembly had declared World Bee Day unanimously. "Slovenia's gift to the UN is a living monument', she added."…. / IBNA

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Sinisa Mali nominated as new Finance minister

Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabic proposed today the outgoing Belgrade mayor Sinisa Mali for the post of Finance minister. The parliament is to vote on Mali's nomination on Monday. Earlier this year Dusan Vujovic resigned from the ministerial post due to "personal reasons", as he explained.

Sinisa Mali is connected with several scandals which are still unresolved.

In April 2016 unknown persons have illegally demolished a number of buildings in the centre of Belgrade using bulldozers. The buildings were situated in the space where it was planned that Belgrade Waterfront would be constructed, "an urban renewal development project" led by the Serbian government and Eagle Hills company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During the demolition, residents had been illegally detained. Following harsh reactions by the public and protests, Aleksandar Vucic, prime minister of Serbia at that time, had said that Belgrade City authorities including Mali were responsible for the incidents, calling them "complete idiots". However, Mali never faced any legal action.

Mali was also suspected for plagiarizing his doctoral thesis and purchasing 24 apartments in Bulgaria during his mayoral term.

There is no doubt that Mali would be elected as the new finance minister, due to the fact that the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by president of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic controls the majority. Although the president has not any constitutional connections with appointing ministers, Vucic has announced that he personally supports Mali.

Mali said he was honoured because he was chosen for the post. He promised he "will fight every day for the benefit of the citizens of Serbia".

"I am honoured and I thank the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic and the head of the Serbian government Ana Brnabic", Mali said…. / IBNA

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